Citing health reasons for his early retirement, Czech goaltender Jakub Kovář today announced he was leaving KHL club Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg after just one start in the 2021-22 KHL season, ending his professional career.
Starting his junior career with his hometown IHC Písek, Kovář joined the Czech Extraliga U20 Top Division with České Budějovice in 2005, spending two seasons before trying his hand in the Ontario Hockey League in 2007-08. He’d return to České Budějovice in the senior Top Division in 2008, spending five seasons with Mountfield before joining Avtomobilist of the KHL in 2013. Kovář would spend all but one of his seven full KHL seasons in Yekaterinburg, save for a one-year stop in Cherepovets in 2016-17, making the KHL All-Star Game on three occasions (2015, 2019, 2020).
Joining the Narodnitym at the under-17 level, and capturing Bronze at the 2006 Under-18 Championships, Kovář debuted at the World Juniors in 2007, returning again in 2008. He made his senior debut at the 2011 World Championships, the first of four appearances (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015), capturing Bronze in 2011 and 2012 and playing alongside his younger brother Jan in 2014 and 2015. Kovář would also make the 2014 Sochi Olympics roster, and was a mainstay on the Euro Hockey Tour, part of Czechia’s last two Tour titles in 2012 and 2020.
Over the course of his career, Kovář would capture the IHLC four total times, spreading out with wins in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2019. We wish Jakub and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!